Local dermatologist offering free screenings for skin cancer awareness month

Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– The month of May is recognized as Skin Cancer Awareness Month and local dermatologist Dr. Jon Ward said prevention is key when it comes to skin cancer.

Dr. Ward’s office, the Dermatology Specialists of Florida has been giving away free skin cancer screenings throughout the month of May for 16 years.

Dr. Ward said when examining, he typically looks for warning signs that include changes in size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin lesion, the appearance of a new growth on the skin, or a sore that doesn’t heal.

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“It is estimated that one person dies from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, every hour,” said Dr. Ward.

While the statistic can be alarming, Dr. Ward said that detecting cancer early through a screening can be life-saving, especially this year, with many people cancelling regularly scheduled doctor visits due to COVID-19.

Free screenings will be offered at all their Panhandle locations throughout the month of May to any adult who has not been screened by a dermatologist in the last 12-months. A list of locations can be found here, or you can call their office at 877-231-3376 to make your appointment.

“A screening is quick and painless, and just five minutes can save your life,” said Dr. Ward.

Dr. Ward also recommends to invest in protective clothing when out in the sun and to constantly apply sunscreen every 1-2 hours when out. He added sunscreen should at least be over SPF 30, and a golf-ball-sized amount should be applied throughout the skin.

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